TUCO President: We have lobbied tirelessly for a calypso museum

Mis­lead­ing! Is how Pres­i­dent of the Trin­ba­go Uni­fied Ca­lyp­so­ni­ans Or­gan­i­sa­tion (TU­CO), Lu­ta­lo “Broth­er Re­sis­tance” Masim­ba, has de­scribed the con­tent of a re­cent ed­i­to­r­i­al in the Guardian News­pa­per, which ac­cused the cul­tur­al or­gan­i­sa­tion of not do­ing enough to pre­serve the ca­lyp­so art­form in T&T?

Re­spond­ing to the ed­i­to­r­i­al pub­lished on Oc­to­ber 30, in which TU­CO was tak­en to task on its al­leged fail­ure to ad­e­quate­ly pre­serve the works of the ca­lyp­so art form, Masim­ba said there was no fact or truth to the ed­i­to­r­i­al’s ref­er­ences.

He dis­missed con­tent in the ed­i­to­r­i­al, which sug­gest­ed a de­cline by TU­CO to ac­cept an es­teemed col­lec­tion of all works of the ca­lyp­so art form dat­ing back to 1912, from ca­lyp­so re­searcher and col­lec­tor, George D Ma­haraj.

“We nev­er even held any dis­cus­sion to say that doc­u­ments or any­thing else were ever ex­changed,” Masim­ba re­vealed.

He said what was true was that Ma­haraj had tried on sev­er­al oc­ca­sions to sell his col­lec­tion to the Gov­ern­ment of T&T and per­haps oth­er per­sons, but main­tained TU­CO was nev­er among that list.

“At one time, the her­itage Li­brary un­der NALIS (Na­tion­al Li­brary and In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem Au­thor­i­ty), spoke to us about help­ing them to get an eval­u­a­tor for the col­lec­tion. But ap­par­ent­ly, the col­lec­tion was not in Trinidad and those are the facts,” Masim­ba quipped.

He al­so ques­tioned the no­tion that Ma­haraj’s col­lec­tion was the great­est ca­lyp­so col­lec­tion in the world, say­ing there was no proof of this.

“What about the oth­er col­lec­tions in Trinidad and To­ba­go and oth­er parts of the world. How do we know that his is the great­est col­lec­tion? More so, the col­lec­tion has not even been dig­i­tized, which is the im­por­tant thing for works of that na­ture in these times,” Masim­ba added.

The ed­i­to­r­i­al came on the heels of last Fri­day’s un­veil­ing of the life-like wax fig­ure of Grena­di­an-born, Trinida­di­an adopt­ed ‘Ca­lyp­so King of the World,’ Slinger “Mighty Spar­row” Fran­cis­co which took place on the premis­es of The Com­mer­cial Cred­it Di­vi­sion of Con­sol­i­dat­ed Fi­nance Co. Ltd, Bar­ba­dos.

Of that achieve­ment, Masim­ba said last Thurs­day TU­CO was very proud and the un­veil­ing fit apt­ly in­to Ca­lyp­so His­to­ry Month, which con­clud­ed on Oc­to­ber 31.

Masim­ba said TU­CO had been lob­by­ing for such spaces for the past two decades. He al­so not­ed that the Wax Mu­se­um in Bar­ba­dos was not a mu­se­um for the sole dis­play of ca­lyp­so­ni­ans or works of the art form per se.

He said sev­er­al en­ti­ties had been en­gaged over the years in­clud­ing the Na­tion­al Mu­se­um, the NALIS Her­itage Li­brary, the Min­istries of Tourism and Cul­ture and even the Unit­ed Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP). The lat­ter, he said was a pro­pos­al to have a mu­se­um on the con­cept of sound and light, with­out the need of a phys­i­cal build­ing, but due to no sup­port by the then Gov­ern­ment, the pro­pos­al was shelved.

He said TU­CO had even lob­bied to have one of T&T’s Mag­nif­i­cent Sev­en—Mille Fleurs, turned in­to a ca­lyp­so mu­se­um, but that pro­pos­al too, was de­nied.

Masim­ba dis­closed TU­CO was cur­rent­ly work­ing with for­mer of­fi­cials of the Na­tion­al Trust to re­design the pro­pos­al and to keep the ad­vo­ca­cy for a mu­se­um alive.

“So it is not that TU­CO has not been con­tin­u­ous­ly try­ing to get this place and space—we have,” said Masim­ba.

He added, “I am very dis­ap­point­ed by what was said but glad the is­sue came up as per­haps it would be placed back in­to the na­tion­al con­ver­sa­tion.”

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